Ilkeston, we’ve got a problem

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Steve Chettle’s Ilkeston Town players have presented him with a problem – but he’s only got himself to blame.

Going into this Saturday’s home game against Lichfield City Chettle has a selection headache to deal with.

Ilkeston have won their last seven games , the latest of which was a 3-0 Derbyshire Senior Cup triumph over Dronfield Town.

“The Dronfield game in the cup wasn’t a great performance but it was a very professional performance and what we wanted, a result after 90 minutes with some players getting minutes too.

“Now everyone is available for selection this Saturday and it’s one of those things, it’s really good but not so good when you’ve to to leave people out.

“I’ve asked people to come in and give me a problem and they have.

“As a manager you’re not going to keep everyone happy, you can only pick 11 players and five substitutes.”

Chettle has a number of players in form as he seeks another win to keep the pressure on the two sides above Ilkeston in the Midland Football League Division One table.

“Alex Marshall has done really well, he’s a local lad who used to be in the academy,” he said.

“He came from Kimberley Miners Welfare and has 13 goals this season already.

“Jordan Wheatley and Ben Fairclough have settled in really well, my assistant manager Ian Deakin has played really well in goal, Chris Shaw is a really experienced player in non-league, Charlie Jemson has done well – we’ve had some really good performances.”

But all this doesn’t mean Chettle is going to settle for what he’s got at the New Manor Ground.

“I’m always looking,” he admitted.

“But they need to be the right people, we’re not just going to take people on their reputation, if they fit into the set-up then we’ll look at it.”

With their profile in non-league football in the region and the facilities they boast, Ilkeston Town aren’t finding it difficult to attract players.

Chettle said: “We get players wanting to come here, weekly.

“We get them by email, from scouts, people who have played at a very high level, we get some because of the link with Notts County, the fantastic backing of the chairman.

“But I think some of them think we’re a way to get to Notts County.”

The players currently sporting the colours of Ilkeston Town have a busy week ahead with the visit of Lichfield on Saturday, followed by Tuesday’s trip to Bolehall Swifts.

Chettle expects a difficult encounter with Lichfield again this weekend, having shared the spoils when they met earlier in the campaign.

“It will be a really difficult game.” he said.

“Earlier in the season we drew 2-2, they had two goals that potentially could have been not given by the referee but we clawed our way back into it, Montel Gibson scored a brace.

“They’re a strong, physical side.

“But you look at the teams you played early in the season and they can be completely different now, there’s a massive turnover of players in this league.

“We’ve been quite settled, tried not to use too many players and tried to get some momentum, I think we’ve benefitted from it.

“We’ve got a nucleus of about 18 players who we use week in and week out, a couple of lads have been out to get minutes at other clubs but we all train together and try to keep the squad happy.”